William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner – Twelfth Night

Experience Twelfth Night as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what’s what and who’s who as the plot unfolds.

To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare’s world. The unabridged drama is also presented without commentary.

If school turned you off Shakespeare, find out what you’ve been missing all these years with this beautifully crafted audio presentation.

From the creators of SmartPass audio education study guides, voted third in a national poll to find the UK’s favourite audibook (2008). Winners of 3 Spoken Word Awards for Best Drama (2004), Best Original Audio and Best Publishing Initiative (2005).

Author: William Shakespeare, Simon Potter, Phil Viner
Narrator: Joan Walker, David Thorpe, Lucy Robinson
Duration: 7 hours 2 minutes
Released: 8 Nov 2011
Publisher: SmartPass
Language: English

User Review:

chrissake weakening

First of all, let me say that “Twelfth Night” is wonderful Shakespeare. It’s great for an introduction to the bard: the story is easy to follow, the language is beautiful, there’s music and comedy, and the characters are very appealing.

The format here is the difference. There’s an introduction, with background on the play as well as a brief biography of Shakespeare and his times. Then, the play begins. A narrator interrupts the action every few lines to re-phrase in “plain English” what’s been said. This sort of interpretation is helpful to newcomers to the play, but it can also be quite distracting and, understandably, disrupts the flow of the production. For the best experience of the play itself, I think the way to proceed would be to listen first to a version without the commentary, then to this.

The commentary is quite good, I think. The explanations are presented clearly, and there is a distinction between information that is historical and that which is purely speculative (as much of Shakespeare’s personal history must be).

This approach to “Twelfth Night” might be an excellent way to prepare for seeing a production of the play and is of interest to anyone wanting to experience it in considerable depth. Like others in the series, “Twelfth Night: Shakespeare Appreciated” is an obviously well-researched and well-executed effort. The experience might, however, require more commitment than the casual playgoer/reader wants.